My name is Tracy…And I’m an addict.

Those experiencing PTSD might develop an addiction to self-medicate feelings of fear, anxiety and stress. PTSD and addiction often co-occur in response to serious trauma. PTSD changes brain chemistry in much the same way substance abuse and addiction do. Often, these disorders form at the same time and feed off one another. The same trauma that caused PTSD can also trigger an addiction to any number of things.

Following a traumatic experience, the brain produces less endorphins, one of the chemicals that help us feel happy. People with PTSD may turn to some kind of high or rush, which increase endorphin levels. Over time, they may come to rely on their addiction to relieve all of their feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability. The relief, however short-lived will escalate as the person attempts to keep themselves in a euphoric state.

PTSD often causes people to feel disconnected from their friends and loved ones.

People with PTSD are more prone to violent outbursts and panic attacks, which can be difficult for family and friends to witness. Feelings of guilt over these outbursts can drive those with PTSD to self-medicate.

Hello, my name is Tracy and I’m an addict. I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol or anything illegal.  I’m addicted to overindulgence. What does that mean? It means that I do almost everything in excess, I want to do everything and I can’t say no. I over extend myself physically, mentally and financially in order to obtain that small bit of happiness no matter how fleeting.  I’ve been this way as far back as I can remember. When I sign up for something, buy something, etc I don’t consciously think about what the consequences will be until it’s too late.  I’ve put myself into a state of denial so strong that I don’t even notice what’s happening until I’ve overbooked myself, spent too much, taken on too much work, made too many promises, etc.

I’m literally committed to no less than 3 jobs on any given week.I continue to take on as much extra work that they will give me at my day job. I volunteer, I help anyone I can, anytime I’m asked.  I have run up my credit cards to the point of embarrassment and my closet and craft area look like an episode of hoarders.  I say embarrassment because I did this and I was scared to tell anyone because I knew it was wrong and I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t tell anyone or ask for help because it felt like it was already too late. Much like a cheating spouse, once is more than enough to ruin a relationship. That’s what I’ve done.  I’ve ruined my one real chance at happiness and there is no going back.  Like they say, once you wrinkle the paper, you can’t ever get the creases out.

Maybe this sounds like an excuse, maybe not everything is a result of my disease but how will I ever know and how do I change a behavior that I’ve had my entire life?  I have to take steps to do this but I’m not sure what those steps are except to quit cold turkey.  Does this work?  How do you fix something that has completely ruined everything?  Here’s what I think, this is my responsibility and I will do whatever it takes to turn my life around. I don’t need anyone to do it for me, I will do it for myself so I can remember the struggle in the future when I am confronted with temptation.

The only thing I ask of anyone is that you give me the time I need to put myself back together.

 

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6 thoughts on “My name is Tracy…And I’m an addict.

  1. Before giving up what is presently used to curb anxiety a replacement is needed. Hand gripping white knuckling only lasts so long. What can you provide yourself that brings calm; hot baths, meditation (that has been the greatest help for me), nature, massage, diaphragmatic breathing…sometimes just taking in a few slow, deep breaths before saying yes may enable you to say no…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry that you have this struggle but I do agree that PTSD and self medicating go hand in hand. I struggle with the drinking part of that and the shopping. I also have built a large amount of debt that I know is causing me issues.

    Liked by 1 person

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